June is National Dairy Month, which means it’s the perfect time to add products like milk, cheese and yogurt into your meal preparation plans. Whether you’re packing lunches, making baby food or whipping up a family dinner, dairy is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Here’s a little history about the nationally recognized celebration and a few ways you can add more dairy to your meals.
The history of National Dairy Month
Back in 1937, a group of chain stores came up with National Milk Month to get people to drink more milk. It was a way to stabilize the demand for dairy products, since there was a surplus of milk at the time. According to The Wisconsin Cheeseman, the month started on June 10 and ran until July 10, and the original theme was “Keep Youthful – Drink Milk.”
In 1939, The National Dairy Council took over the celebration and moved the timeframe to June, renaming it “June Dairy Month.” The American Dairy Association started promoting June Dairy Month in 1955. Since then, it’s become an annual tradition to observe the important contributions the dairy industry has made throughout U.S. history
The benefits of celebrating
This month, join in the celebration and show your support for dairy farmers across the nation. In addition to ensuring a booming dairy industry, you'll also be giving your family all of the beneficial nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture noted that low-fat and fat-free milk and dairy products provide protein, reduce the risk of bone disease and fractures, and may help decrease the chances of getting cavities. Dairy products also play an important role in child development. The International Dairy Foods Association also pointed out that dairy products can help manage your weight and reduce your risk for high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers.
How to get more dairy
The National Dairy Council reported that people over the age of 9 should get three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy every day. On average, though, most people only get two servings. To increase your family's dairy intake, consider these healthy meal options:
- Breakfast smoothies made with fruits and veggies, plus yogurt or milk
- Oatmeal or pancakes made with milk instead of water
- Yogurt parfaits with fruit and granola
- Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomatoes
- Yogurt-based dips for chips, veggies or fruits
- Frozen yogurt topped with fresh fruit and nuts
- Homemade pizza with various cheeses and veggies.
Once National Dairy Month is over, keep the celebration going by choosing to add more dairy ingredients to your meals all year long.